Saturday

22nd Sep 2018

EU sex-posters spark protests in Austria

Three naked models masked as Jacques Chirac, Queen Elizabeth and George W. Bush depicted in sexual positions have caused embarrassment just a few days ahead of Austria taking over the EU helm.

A poster showing the lower body of a woman with her legs spread and wearing EU-flagged underwear has also caused uproar in the media and among politicians, demanding they be removed.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The posters are part of a larger partly-publicly funded project '25 Peaces' celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Austrian republic and its ten years of membership of the EU.

Taxpayers are contributing 10 percent of the total 10 million euro project, while the rest of the money is from private sponsors.

A total of 150 posters were produced as part of the celebrations by 75 young European artists working under the umbrella title euroPART.

Their contribution may have passed rather unnoticed had it not been for the three posters which have sexual overtones.

All the posters are on display throughout the Austrian capital Vienna on 400 billboards until 24 January when they will be moved on to Salzburg.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel announced according to the Austrian daily Krone Zeitung that he had not been informed in advance of the content of the campaign.

He underlined the posters had nothing to do with art and that they had surpassed by far the borders of good taste.

Head of the Right-wing Freedom party Heinz Christian Strache was quoted saying by Austrian media that the posters depicted nothing more than "group sex fantasies", while Salzburg party-member Karl Schnell demanded the person responsible for the posters should be sacked.

As part of an independent cultural project it is unclear whether the posters can in fact be ordered removed.

Social Democrat top-official Norbert Darabos defended the principle of freedom of art, but criticised the project for cashing one million euro from the public coffers.

Social democrat deputy president of Austria's parliament, Barbara Prammer said in a statement: "Women are being displayed in sexist, demeaning manner on those posters". Chirac, Bush and the English Queen are degraded, she added.

Organisers of the project including the head of the national theatre Georg Springer defended the posters as "direct criticism of globalisation" adding that the underwear photo was being ironic about the EU.

Artist Carlos Aires, 31, from Madrid produced the naked trio. He said to the Telegraph they depicted "the most recent changes in Europe and the resulting special constructions".

The project also included ideas such as having cows graze the lawn outside the Belvedere Palace and planting a vegetable garden on Heroes' Square in Vienna, where Adolf Hitler announced Germany's annexation of Austria.

Controversial EU porn-posters to be removed

Contentious pornographic EU posters will be withdrawn from billboards in Vienna in a bid to end fierce controversy on the eve of Austria taking over the EU presidency from Britain.

Poland to face EU top court on rule of law

The EU commission is expected to refer Poland to the EU's top court over firing supreme court judges, but Warsaw refused to commit on Tuesday that it will implement future EU court rulings.

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

The parliament launched a sanctions procedure against Hungary in an unprecedented vote that required a two-thirds majority from MEPs. Hungary is calling the vote a "fraud" and a "petty revenge" for its hardline migration policy.

Juncker calls for 'global' Europe

In his final State of the Union address, Jean-Claude Juncker warned of "exaggerated nationalism" in Europe - and said the EU should play a more dominant role in shaping world events, as the US withdraws from the global stage.

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  2. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  3. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  4. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  5. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says
  6. Airbnb agrees to clarify pricing for EU
  7. Libya keeps coast guards rejected by the EU
  8. EU divisions on menu at Salzburg dinner

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us